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Full text of "A history of Persia"

io4                 HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP.
throughout the Empire, as it was unlikely that he would
be spared. Asked how he would have behaved hud he
won, he answered, " I would have beaten thee with many
a stripe/' Alp Arslan showed remarkable magnanimity ;
for Romanus, after making a treaty and stipulating to
pay a ransom, was set free. His subjects, however,
refused to recognize him. In this campaign mention is
made of a body of mercenary French and Normans,
commanded by Ursel of Baliol, a kinsman—possibly an
ancestor—of the Scottish kings*
The last campaign of this warlike Seljuk was against
Khwarazm and the Turks, and while the army was
crossing the Oxus a certain prisoner was brought in
who had held a fort in Khwarazm with much bravery.
Condemned to be pegged out on the ground until he
died, the fearless soldier cursed Alp Arslan for inflicting
a death so degrading; whereupon the monarch, waving
his attendants aside, shot an arrow at him, but missed,
and before the prisoner could be seized he mortally
wounded the great Seljuk, So perished Alp Arslan in
the zenith of his fame and manhood. lie was buried
at Merv with the following epitaph :
Thou hast seen Alp Arslan's head in pride exalted to the «ky ;
Come to Merv, and see how lowly in the dust that head doth lie !
Alp Arslan was tall, a noted archer, and had such long
moustaches that they had to be tied up when he shot.
His life was spent in fighting, and he gained the reputation
of being fearless, generous, and religious. It is much to
his credit that he realized the genius for administration
of the Nizam-ul-Mulk, and gave him his entire confidence
and a free hand. The result was that justice and order
prevailed, learning was encouraged, and such prosperity
returned to Persia that the Seljuk dynasty at its prime
need not fear comparison with any of its predecessors*
The Seljuk Empire at its Zenith under Malik Shah^ A.H.
465-485 (1072-1092).—Jalal-u-Din, Abul Path, Malik
Shah had been proclaimed heir-apparent at Meshed before
his father proceeded on his last expedition. He was, only
seventeen when he was suddenly called to assumfc the